Outdoor news

Into the woods: Moose hunt begins Sept. 26

More than 700 hunters head into woods to hunt majestic mammal
By Staff | Sep 25, 2017

Augusta — More than 700 moose hunters entered the woods to see Maine’s most majestic mammal on Monday, Sept. 25.

This is the 37th year of Maine’s modern moose hunt, one which resumed in 1980 after being closed since 1936.

While Monday marked the first day of moose season in northern and eastern Maine, the moose season continues through the fall and is divided into four segments which also includes the weeks of Oct. 9-14 in the northern two-thirds of the state, Oct. 23-28 in northern and eastern Maine and Oct. 28 through Nov. 25 in central Maine. In all, 2,080 permits were issued to hunt moose in Maine this year.

Regulated hunting seasons are how the Maine Department of Inland Wildlife and Fisheries manages Maine’s moose population. The number of permits issued for each moose hunting district varies depending on moose population density in the district and publicly derived population objectives, such as managing for recreational opportunity (hunting and viewing), road safety (reducing moose-vehicle collisions) or a combination of both.

"Everyone enjoys Maine’s moose " said Lee Kantar, MDIFW’s moose biologist. “By adjusting the number of moose permits in different areas of the state we can manage the population and provide opportunities for both hunting and viewing.”

Last year, 1,609 hunters, or 75 percent of the permitted hunters, harvested a moose. The 75 percent success rate is in stark contrast to bear, turkey or deer hunting, where success rates range historically from 18 to 30 percent. Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with 53,919 hunters applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose.

All successful moose hunters are required to register their moose at the nearest tagging station. At these stations, MDIFW wildlife biologists collect data that provides insight into moose population health.

A tooth is removed in order to determine the age of the moose. Antler beam width and diameter are measured. Ticks are counted on four different areas of the moose to compare numbers to years past.

In later weeks, moose hunters who shoot a female moose are required to bring the ovaries, which are later microscopically examined to determine reproductive success.

This biological data is combined with data from the ongoing moose GPS collar study, as well as the aerial moose population and composition surveys, to give biologists a clearer picture of the health and status of Maine’s moose herd.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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